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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Orient Lines

MV Marco Polo

Your Rating:Five Stars
Reviewed by: Erika Holland
# previous cruises: 1
Date of Trip: August 18, 2001
Itinerary: Scandinavia

We sailed on the Marco Polo for their Grand Scandinavia, Baltic Sea with Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Copenhagen the first week, Norway; fjords and Bergen and Oslo the second. Would recommend the two weeks without hesitation. We never got bored, the weather cooperated and I didn't want to get off. Pre and post options in Stockholm and Copenhagen gave us plenty of time to explore both cities.

Public Areas
This is a small ship, 800 passengers but comfortable for all, great deck chairs, small library, card room and casino. Everything was immaculate and someone always cleaning, and maintaining the ship. Lounges were never overcrowded, mostly observed crew smoking where it was allowed, few passengers. Show room had two performances so that all passengers could be accommodated. Pool open but filled with salt water and not heated, only saw one person swimming in two weeks, but that wasn't a primary attraction, the destinations were. There was a disco where they had card tournaments during the day

Food and Service
The food was very good and the service even better. Wonderful entrees and the portions were just right. If you wanted more they brought it with a smile. Desserts, breads everything top-notch. Even in the buffet food was nicely prepared and presented. Gelato wagon on the pool deck did big business (no charge). The grill outside did breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. The dinner buffet featured cloth napkins and tablecloths. It did get a little crowded in the mornings when there were land tours but you could go the main dining room and get served just as quickly.

We were on the Promenade Deck and had a small cabin compared to others we saw. Category C was too small for two women on a 14-day cruise. Other cabins at lower categories had more drawer and closet space but we found cubbyholes for our shoes and accessories but in the future I would go with an inside cabin, cheaper and roomier. TV rarely worked outside of port and then only 4 channels, the camera from the bridge was in operation and interesting but we were never in cabin other than to dress, shower and sleep.

The service staff from the Philippines did a wonderful folk show with singing and dancing. The regular ensemble did a good job but the best were the classical music trio who player in both the lounge and showroom. When we saw them listed on the schedule we made sure to go. The comedian was ok but some of the entertainment was hokey but they all get an A for effort.

The spa is being taken over by another company this fall. The spa treatment I had, a facial was good but they pushed their products too heavily and also promoted a detox system, faux diet program which was a turn-off. They had fitness classes and plenty of equipment. There was trivia, bingo, other contests in casino also, speakers, plenty to keep you occupied between meals and stops. Only took the excursion in Tallinn because we had four hours wanted to see as much as possible. Otherwise we went off on our own and bought public transport passes and explored. In St. Petersburg we secured a private guide on our own and got to see places the groups wouldn't have, restaurants and places off the tourist beat. Elena was great and haggled with the taxi drivers for fair rates. We also skipped ahead of the lines at the Hermitage and Peterhof. Even with the cost of the visas we came out ahead of the excursion prices.

Who Goes
I would say about 75% or more were seniors but that didn't dampen the experience, a few complainers but you get that at any age. We had about 4 kids the first week and 2-3 the second week. The ship had no activities for children but they were all very well behaved and never bothered the adults. The first week we dined with a lovely couple from South Africa and had stimulating conversations. The second week a couple from Las Vegas, talk about night and day, shared our table. She was seasick but wouldn't try any remedies, pressure point wrist bands, etc. She played with her food and ate very little but managed several desserts despite being a diabetic. Fortunately the dress code kept them from the dining room several nights and we could enjoy our meal, service and view. Glad we took a table for four, we had a window table with great views. Tables for two were all in the middle of the dining room.

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